I'm spending time out of the heat and in air-conditioned environs whenever possible. I'm thinking I didn't make full use of a Buns and Noodle coupon I got in the mail yesterday. I'm wondering about two groups of people: community leaders who rail against the rise of hip-hop fiction and authors who question the need for an African American section. I'm admitting I haven't spent much time in the gay & lesbian section because I feel guilty for not spending much time with the anthology I bought at A Different Light a couple of months ago.
"Velda was watching me with the tip of her tongue clenched between
her teeth. There wasn't any kitten-softness about her now. She was
big and she was lovely, with the kind of curves that made you want to
turn around and have another look. The lush fullness of her lips had
tightened into the faintest kind of snarl and her eyes were the
carnivorous eyes you could expect to see in the jungle watching you
from behind a clump of bushes.''
There are boxes and boxes of paper and newspaper and receipts and CDs in my room. They can't stay there forever, but they certainly can't stay in the storage unit about a block away from us. I am hopeful that somewhere in there, perhaps in the three green regulation Government Printing Office ledgers, are lists of some of the AT40 lists I used to keep. It's a hope against hope. I have much clearer memories of legal pads snuck out of my mom's home office and pencils honed on the sharpener in the kitchen. When I stayed home and listened to Casey Kasem, I couldn't have imagined the Internet, much less music blogs, Last.fm or Pandora.
New York, N.Y.: What should be an appropriate response by the average man on the street in Mumbai?
Suketu Mehta: The great thing about Bombay is its open, generous heart. I wrote in my book about the 'hands from the trains':
"If you are late for work in Mumbai and reach the station just as the train is leaving the platform, don't despair. You can run up to the packed compartments and find many hands unfolding like petals to pull you on board. And while you will probably have to hang on to the door frame with your fingertips, you are still grateful for the empathy of your fellow passengers, already packed tighter than cattle, their shirts drenched with sweat in the badly ventilated compartment. They know that your boss might yell at you or cut your pay if you miss this train. And at the moment of contact, they do not know if the hand reaching for theirs belongs to a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Brahmin or an Untouchable. Come on board, they say. We'll adjust."
I hope – I know – that this spirit will endure. Bombay will adjust. Thank you.